The Sheppard, the Fugitive & The Twitter Defense!

MP900442461 If you’re a lawyer, you’ve probably come across “The Twinkie Defense” at some point in your studies.  But what about “The Twitter Defense”?

I suppose it was inevitable, but defense attorneys in a heinous Cheshire, Ct. rape and murder trial intend to argue on appeal that – among other issues – the jury succumbed to the undue influence of over 140,000 inflammatory tweets about the case that were publicly available.

If you’re me (which I am), the entire premise is fascinating because of where the issues take us.  How often do you think you’ll hear a Supreme Court decision from 1966 (specifically, Sheppard v. Maxwell) cited in support of a claim incorporating Twitter in 2010?

To me, it boils down to whether one believes that the tail is wagging the dog or vice versa.  Does the use of “new media” such as Twitter require new court rules?  Will the judges who consider the appeal even know what Twitter is or how it functions?

That’s ok; I guess they’ll just ask their young associates…